Don’t blame the NFL or commissioner Roger Goodell for the sanctions levied against the New Orleans Saints today. Blame Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis, Gregg Williams and Joe Vitt.
It was their actions – or lack thereof – that led to the unprecedented punishment meted out today. It was their lack of institutional control that resulted in the worst black eye the organization has ever experienced. Their cavalier attitudes and carelessness left the league with no recourse and has caused irreparable short- and long-term damage to the organization.
Any hopes the Saints had of becoming the first NFL team to play in the Super Bowl on their home field in Super Bowl XLVII disintegrated with today’s news.
There’s no way the team can survive the loss of head coach Sean Payton for a full season, general manager Mickey Loomis for half a season and linebackers coach Joe Vitt for six games.
The Saints will win their share of games this coming season. There’s still a lot of talent on the roster. But in a league where the competitive margin between teams is razor thin, today’s news is fatal blow to their title